Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘house arrest’ Category

Chinese authorities keep tight grip on former prisoners of conscience after their jail term

Posted by Author on March 3, 2011

Instead of freeing prisoners of conscience when they complete a jail sentence, the Chinese authorities have for the past few months been using their supposed release to mask the fact that they have been placed under house arrest, or subjected to some other curtailment of their freedom or, worse still, forced disappearance.

They seem determined to never fully release such detainees, doing everything in their power to keep them isolated from their families and the rest of society by cutting off their means of communication or restricting their movements. They are also confining writers, lawyers, dissidents and human rights activists in a similar manner, blocking their phone lines and Internet connections in order to cut them off from the outside world. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, house arrest, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, World | Comments Off on Chinese authorities keep tight grip on former prisoners of conscience after their jail term

Heavy Charges for Chinese Activists before the Jasmine Rallies Call Appeared on Internet

Posted by Author on February 26, 2011

A few days before the Jasmine Rallies called for by Chinese organizers to be held in 23 cities on Sunday, February 27, the Chinese authorities have charged many activists with serious state security crimes, including “subversion of state power” and “inciting subversion of state power.” Those charged include three Sichuan activists: public intellectual Ran Yunfei (冉云飞), rights activists Chen Wei (陈卫), and Ding Mao (丁矛); Jiangsu rights activist Hua Chunhui (华春辉); and Harbin-based blogger Liang Haiyi (梁海怡), who goes by the penname Miaoxiao (渺小). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, house arrest, Human Rights, Jasmine Revolution, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on Heavy Charges for Chinese Activists before the Jasmine Rallies Call Appeared on Internet

China: Blind Activist “Beaten Senseless” for Smuggled Video

Posted by Author on February 11, 2011

Women’s Rights without Frontiers-

A new video featuring One Child Policy activist Chen Guangcheng was leaked to the China Aid Association Wednesday, February 9, 2011.  The next day it was reported that Chen and his wife, Yuan Weijing, were “beaten senseless” in retaliation for the release of the video.

Blind activist Chen exposed the systematic use of forced abortion in implementing China’s One Child Policy.  His work has not gone unnoticed by the world.  Time Magazine named him in its list of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” in the category of “Heroes and Pioneers.”  In 2007 he was awarded the Magsaysay award, known as Asia’s Nobel Prize. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, East China, house arrest, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Shandong, World | Comments Off on China: Blind Activist “Beaten Senseless” for Smuggled Video

China continues crackdown on activists

Posted by Author on October 29, 2010

By Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post Foreign Service, Friday, October 29, 2010 –

BEIJING – Three weeks after jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was named the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the government in Beijing has continued its crackdown on human rights activists and lawyers in defiance of international criticism.

The ongoing duress – which includes confining some to their homes, following and harassing others and alleged secret detentions – has prompted calls for President Obama and other leaders to raise the issue of Liu’s release and human rights in general with Chinese President Hu Jintao during an upcoming summit in Seoul. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, China, house arrest, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China continues crackdown on activists

Life is a trial for Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng

Posted by Author on May 5, 2009

By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Tijmes, May 5, 2009 –

Reporting from Beijing — For the family of Gao Zhisheng, a maverick lawyer under house arrest for years after confronting the Communist Party head-on, security was so tight that police sometimes sat in the bedroom of their Beijing apartment, insisting the lights remain on all night so they could keep an eye on them.

In order to keep the family incommunicado, authorities forbade telephones or Internet access. When Gao’s 15-year-old daughter went to school, her classmates were not allowed to carry cellphones lest she borrow one to make a call.

After more than four years under surveillance, Gao’s wife managed to slip out of the apartment in mid-January with their daughter and 5-year-old son. They traveled nearly 2,000 miles by bus, train, motorcycle and on foot to reach Thailand, from where they were allowed to fly to the United States.

The 45-year-old Gao disappeared weeks later and is presumed to be in the custody of Chinese secret police.

“We know nothing. We don’t even know if he is alive or dead,” said his wife, Geng He, in a tearful telephone interview. In the last month, she has talked to members of Congress, the press and human rights groups about what happened to her family.

Her story speaks to the unbearable pressure Beijing continues to apply on its citizens, even savvy lawyers, who cross an unstated line by taking on taboo causes.

In the first four months of 2009, Amnesty International has documented at least four cases of lawyers who were threatened with violence by the authorities as they defended their clients, and many more in which they were stopped from meeting clients, detained or barred from practicing law.

Beijing authorities in March issued a six-month suspension of the Yitong law firm, one of the country’s most prominent human rights practices, saying one of its lawyers was improperly licensed.

“That was just an excuse to punish us for accepting sensitive cases,” said Li Jinsong, head of the firm.

Yuan Xianchen, a lawyer in northeastern China who represented miners and farmers against state-owned companies, was sentenced in March to four years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.”

Lawyers have also been blocked from bringing lawsuits on behalf of parents whose babies were sickened by melamine-tainted milk.

“In terms of China’s overall legal development, nobody ever said the road forward would be straight, but I think we are going backwards at the moment,” said Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch.

The crackdown has come in an era when Chinese lawyers have become bolder about pushing for the rights of the ordinary citizen in a culture where individual grievances have long been subordinated to the good of the collective.

China has a minuscule legal community — just 143,000 lawyers, or about 1 for every 9,090 people. (The U.S. has about 1 for every 300.)

Traditionally, Chinese who believe themselves wronged write up their own complaints and travel to Beijing to seek justice — a wildly inefficient system known as petitioning that dates back to Imperial times.

Among the new breed of lawyers, Gao wasn’t merely pushing the envelope — he was an in-your-face advocate, a large man with a booming voice who took on China’s leadership.

The Chinese government says he and his family have been treated responsibly.

At a Foreign Ministry briefing in March, spokesman Qin Gang said: “There’s no political persecution or limits on the freedom of the family. . . . We’ve handled the case in strict accordance with the law.”

Gao, born in a cave in rural Shaanxi province and self-educated, was named one of the top 10 lawyers in China in 2001 by the Chinese Ministry of Justice’s Legal Daily. He represented clients in medical malpractice and land confiscation cases, which in China meant suing the government. Over time, he grew more daring, taking as clients underground churches and members of the Falun Gong, who alleged they had been tortured for their participation in the banned quasi-Buddhist sect.

The government closed Gao’s law practice in 2004, and he was convicted of subversion two years later and given a suspended sentence that kept him under house arrest for much of the time after. Unable to practice law, he started speaking out publicly, giving interviews to the foreign press and dashing off letters to the European Union and the U.S. Congress.

As he became more strident, the secret police became more frantic to quiet him. They would pick him up frequently for questioning; at other times they kept him under house arrest. They set up camp in the stairwell outside his second-floor flat. At one point, while Gao was in custody, his wife said, an officer stayed in the bedroom as she and the children slept.

Police also followed family members onto buses and stood outside phone booths as they made calls.

Despite the intense surveillance, Gao managed to send letters in 2007 to the European Union and U.S. Congress urging a boycott of the following year’s Olympics in Beijing over alleged human rights abuses.

Shortly afterward, Gao was picked up by men in plain clothes presumed to be secret police and a black hood was placed over his head. During 59 days in custody, he was beaten and sexually abused, prodded with electric probes, bamboo skewers and burning cigarettes, according to a letter wife Geng wrote April 23 to Congress.

Oddly enough, she now says, it wasn’t the torture as much as the confiscation of her daughter’s classmates’ cellphones that drove the family to the brink.

“Her teacher told everybody in the class that because of her father, they can’t take any cellphones to school. They couldn’t go to computer classes like other students,” Geng recalled. “Everybody at the school was angry with my daughter.”

It was then that the family began seriously planning their escape. On Jan. 9, Gao abruptly walked out of the Beijing apartment. When the police rushed after him, Geng and the two children left, wearing as much clothing as they could fit under their winter coats. They dared not carry bags.

After a journey of nine days that included traveling by night over smugglers’ routes through Southeast Asia, they reached Thailand, where a Christian group helped them get to the United States.

Gao was seized at his brother’s home in Shaanxi the morning of Feb. 4 and has not been heard from since, his family told human rights advocates.

It is common in China for family not to be notified for weeks or even months after an arrest, but Gao’s fate is of keen interest because of his high profile. He was a nominee last year for the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2007, the American Board of Trial Advocates tried to present him with its Courageous Advocacy Award at a dinner in Santa Barbara.

He was not permitted to attend.

Los Angeles Tijmes

Posted in Beijing, China, Family, house arrest, Law, News, Politics, Social, Torture, World | Comments Off on Life is a trial for Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng

(part 2) Member of European Parliament Discusses Sensitive Issues With China Rights Lawyer in Shanghai

Posted by Author on December 1, 2008

By Li Zhen, Epoch Times Staff, Nov 28, 2008 (cont’d)

Mrs. Helga Truepel has her photograph taken with Shanghai petitioners at lawyer Zheng Enchong’s home. (The Epoch Times)

Mrs. Helga Truepel has her photograph taken with Shanghai petitioners at lawyer Zheng Enchong’s home. (The Epoch Times)

Member of the European Parliament Helga Truepel met with renowned Chinese human rights lawyer Zheng Enchong at his place of residence in Shanghai on November 25.

The CCP Should be Held Responsible for the Tibet Issue

When Truepel told Zheng that the European Parliament was in support of the Dalai Lama, Zheng gave his committed stance on the issue.

“I am a lawyer, said Zheng. “I know that in 1954 the CCP and the Dalai Lama reached seventeen agreements. Who tore up the agreements first? It was Mao Zedong, former CCP leader. According to the agreements, the social system in Tibet was to remain the same. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) marched into Tibet only for defense. But after 1959, the CCP forced Tibet to change its social structures, which caused the Dalai to flee from his hometown. It is the CCP that broke the agreements.”

Truepel remarked that she was surprised at Zheng’s open attitude on the Tibet issue. Zheng said that many people hold similar viewpoints in China, but there are no channels available for them to express their opinions.

Falun Gong Broke Through China’s ‘Berlin Wall’

When Zheng was asked how he was still able to know current news, he explained that although the CCP has completely suppressed freedom of information, Falun Gong practitioners had developed software to break through the blockade, enabling Chinese people to look at overseas news.

“The Berlin Wall in China collapsed. Falun Gong did it.  They have provided us this special software, gifts from the Gods,” said Zheng.

Confirming the Quitting the CCP Movement

Zheng told Truepel about his story. Although he used to follow the CCP, he recently made a declaration of withdrawal from the Communist Young Pioneers and the Communist Youth League.

During the meeting Zheng opened his window and showed Truepel a wilderness of slum areas. “Five million migrant workers in Shanghai cannot afford to live in a ground level house, so they have to stay in these rickety chambers. It is the situation of China`s human rights. I hope you also visit Anhui, Sichuan and Henan Provinces for more information about human rights for China’s peasants.”

The 58-year old Zheng has advised more than 500 families displaced by Shanghai`s urban redevelopment project on their rights to fair compensation. In 2003, he was able to successfully initiate a public trial against Shanghai real-estate tycoon Zhou Zhengyi.

That same year, Zheng was sentenced to three years in prison under a trumped up charge of “betraying state secrets.” Since his release in 2006, he has been kept under house arrest and intense surveillance by the police.

Part 1 Part2

– The Epochtimes: Member of European Parliament Meets Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Zheng Enchong

Posted in all Hot Topic, break net-block, China, East China, Europe, Falun Gong, house arrest, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Lawyer, News, Party withdrawal, People, politician, Politics, shanghai, Social, Software, Speech, Technology, Tibetan, World, Zheng Enchong | 1 Comment »

(part 1) Member of European Parliament Discusses Sensitive Issues With China Rights Lawyer in Shanghai

Posted by Author on December 1, 2008

By Li Zhen, Epoch Times Staff, Nov 28, 2008 –

Mrs. Helga Truepel, member of the European Parliament, has her photograph taken with Zheng Enchong, a famous Shanghai human rights lawyer at a two-hour meeting. (The Epoch Times)

Mrs. Helga Truepel, member of the European Parliament, has her photograph taken with Zheng Enchong, a famous Shanghai human rights lawyer at a two-hour meeting. (The Epoch Times)

Member of the European Parliament Helga Truepel met with renowned Chinese human rights lawyer Zheng Enchong at his place of residence in Shanghai on November 25. Mrs. Helga Truepel, German member of the European Parliament, was also a member of the Green Party.

During their two-hour meeting, they exchanged views on several sensitive issues including China’s human rights record, Tibet, Falun Gong, Internet freedom and the global Quitting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) movement.

Originally, Truepel failed to meet with Hu Jia’s wife Zheng Jinyan in Beijing, due to the Chinese communist authorities’ interference.

Regime Withdrew Police to Create False Impression of ‘Freedom’

“At 10:09am Helga Truepel and a German translator knocked on my door. I found they were very nervous because they failed to meet Zeng Jinyan in Beijing two days ago and worried about if the same thing happened again,” remarked Zheng.

He continued to say that the police were specifically ordered to not interrupt their visit, and recounted how they left before the meeting began and returned when it concluded.

“Before they arrived at my house, all policemen around my home were gone abnormally at 8:00a.m. After Mrs. Helga and her translator left at 12:00pm, they appeared again. The government tried to create the false impression of my freedom.”

CCP Authorities are Concerned About Pressure from International Societies

Regarding being able to successfully meet with Truepel, Zheng commented, “First, the Chinese Communist regime felt pressure from the international society after the scandal about them hindering the woman MEP from meeting Zeng Jinyan was exposed. Secondly, recently the China-EU relationship has changed a lot. The French President agreed to meet with the Dalai Lama and the CCP requested they postpone the China-EU meeting in December.”

Zheng continued, “I do not think the Chinese communist regime has mercy on me. The Chinese government is worried about the world`s opinion, and the pressure from America, France and Germany.”

European Parliament Member Witnesses ‘Family Prison’

Truepel paid close attention to Zheng and his family. According to Zheng, he has remained under house arrest since he was released from prison. Since June 2006, Chinese police have kept Zheng under intense surveillance, assigning six cars and two motorcycle units to the task. Zheng said that usually twelve policemen work three shifts around the clock, but sometimes during sensitive days as many as seventy policemen are involved.

Zheng showed Truepel two surveillance cameras mounted by the police at his front door, and also told her that his phone line had been cut, but he was still required to pay the bill.  (to be cont’d)

Part 1 Part 2

– Original from The Epochtimes: Member of European Parliament Meets Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Zheng Enchong

Posted in China, East China, house arrest, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, News, People, politician, Politics, shanghai, Social, World, Zheng Enchong | Comments Off on (part 1) Member of European Parliament Discusses Sensitive Issues With China Rights Lawyer in Shanghai

China: Beijing police prevent European parliamentarian from visiting jailed dissident’s wife

Posted by Author on November 25, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, Nov. 25, 2008 –

Reporters Without Borders deplores the behaviour of the Chinese police in preventing European parliament member Helga Trüpel from visiting Zeng Jinyan, the wife of jailed dissident Hu Jia, in her Beijing apartment building today. Foreign journalists who wanted to visit Zeng were also turned back.

Hu Jia is this year’s winner of the European parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

“How can the Chinese police show so much contempt to a member of the European parliament and to foreign journalists, refusing to let them see a Chinese citizen who wanted to meet them?” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the Chinese authorities to lift all the restrictions surrounding Zeng Jinyan and her daughter, and to release Hu Jia at once so that he can go to Strasbourg to receive his prize.”

When Trüpel, a German MEP, arrived at about 3 p.m. today at the Beijing apartment building where Zeng and her one-year-old daughter live, police and guards physically prevented her from going through the gate. The journalists were also turned back although the rules for the foreign press grant them freedom to interview. The police also refused to take the present Trüpel had brought for the girl, making her the world’s youngest political prisoner.

Trüpel told Reporters Without Borders: “It was a very unfriendly situation. Firstly, the secret services followed us by car and were clearly waiting for us outside the apartment building. I wanted to see Zeng Jinyan, whom I already met two years ago. She confirmed to us by phone that she was not allowed to come and see us. I told her by phone that we were proud of her.”

The German MEP from the Green party added: “Preventing a member of the European Parliament to meet Zeng Jinyan, Hu Jia’s wife, reveals that Chinese authorities are furious and unwilling even to open the door to negotiations.”

Trüpel is part of a group of MEPs who are visiting China. During a meeting with Chinese parliamentarians, an official was very critical of the European parliament’s decision to award the Sakharov prize to the “criminal” Hu Jia.

Reporters Without Borders

Posted in Activist, Beijing, China, Europe, house arrest, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, Speech, Women, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off on China: Beijing police prevent European parliamentarian from visiting jailed dissident’s wife

China: Phones Blocked for Blind Activist’s Family In the Run-up to the Paralympic Games in Beijing

Posted by Author on September 6, 2008

Radio Free Asia, 2008-09-04-

Gongmin Weiquan Wang.

Blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng. Photo: Gongmin Weiquan Wang.

Phone service for relatives and associates of a jailed blind activist is curtailed before the Paralympics open.

HONG KONG— In the run-up to the Paralympic Games in Beijing, people close to a prominent jailed blind activist have suddenly found their access to telecommunications limited.

The wife of Chen Guangcheng, a human rights lawyer currently serving a four-year jail term, said her cell phone service is often cut off in the middle of calls.

“I recently discovered that from Aug. 30 my cell phone could be disconnected at any time, and that I am not alone—other cell phone users in our village have experienced the same problem,” Yuan Weijing said.

“Sometimes I can get through, but I don’t know when it might drop…Most of the time [my brother-in-law’s] cell phone shows no signal during the day,” she added.

Chen received a four-year, three-month sentence after documenting abuses by family planning officials during the 1980s and 90s. He is currently detained at Linyi Prison in China’s eastern province of Shandong.

In a statement, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders condemned the Chinese authorities’ apparent bid to prevent foreign journalists who will cover the Paralympics from getting in touch with those close to Chen.

Under Chinese law, he may seek parole halfway through his jail term, and Yuan recently appealed her husband’s case.

Constant surveillance

Yuan has been under constant surveillance since Chen was detained in June 2006. She said earlier that ahead of the Olympics Games as many as “40 people working two shifts” were keeping tabs on her.

One villager said Yuan, currently under house arrest, and her family are under close watch by scores of people and no one can get in.

“Her phone has been cut off and she has been tailed too,” said the villager, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Attempts to contact Yuan as recently as Sept. 2 have failed. A recorded message informs callers that Yuan’s telephone number isn’t working.

Li Fangping, Chen’s lawyer in Beijing, said his cell phone had been experiencing similar problems. He speculated that government officials may be wary of the handicapped activist creating a stir ahead of the Paralympics, which open Friday.

“Authorities may be concerned that Chen’s case would draw world attention,” Li said.

In January, a German television crew was denied access to Yuan’s home by the Yinan county Public Security Bureau.

Paperwork appealing for Chen’s parole will soon be delivered to prison officials, Li said.

– Original: Radio Free Asia

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Chen Guangcheng, China, house arrest, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China: Phones Blocked for Blind Activist’s Family In the Run-up to the Paralympic Games in Beijing

Human Rights Situation in China Worsens as Bush Calls for a More Open Society

Posted by Author on August 8, 2008

Human Rights in China, August 07, 2008-

On the eve of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, as President Bush urges Chinese leaders to grant greater freedom to the people of China, sources from within the country have informed Human Rights in China that Chinese authorities continue to detain, harass, coerce, and monitor rights defenders and dissidents in different parts of China.

In the cases documented by Human Rights in China, lawyers, academics, scholars, petitioners, and rights activists have been put under strict surveillance. In several instances, they have been told that they are being monitored so that they cannot go to Beijing during the Olympics.

“These cases, where the police employed the same method of constant surveillance, reveal the authorities’ systematic strategy for dealing with rights defenders and dissidents,” said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. “In order to ensure a ‘Safe Olympics,’ the Chinese authorities have put society under a virtual lockdown. The Beijing Olympics is in danger of going down in history as the ‘Olympics of Fear.'”

Recent activity by Chinese authorities to control rights defenders and dissidents is described in the cases below.

* The Beijing Municipal police have been constantly harassing Beijing lawyers since the end of July.

Jiang Tianyong (江天勇) informed Human Rights in China that many lawyers are being followed by police. Some of them, including Jiang and Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵), have decided to leave the city during the Games. Another lawyer, Li Fangping (李方平), also told Human Rights in China that he and Li Heping (李和平) will leave the city to avoid such close surveillance. Li said that the current atmosphere in Beijing is one of “extreme anxiety.”

o For more information about lawyers in China, see: “Rights Lawyers Prevented from Meeting U.S. Congressmen,” July 1, 2008,; “Chinese Authorities Abuse Licensing System to Harass Rights Defenders,” June 02, 2008,; “Take Action for Lawyers in China,”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, China, Dissident, house arrest, Human Rights, intellectual, Law, Lawyer, News, People, Petitioner, Politics, Religious, Social, Speech, Sports, World | Comments Off on Human Rights Situation in China Worsens as Bush Calls for a More Open Society

China: Well-wishers Detained Outside AIDS Activist Hu Jia’s Beijing Home

Posted by Author on January 25, 2008

Radio Free Asia, 2008.01.23-

HONG KONG–Chinese well-wishers and bloggers were detained and questioned by police standing guard outside the home of detained AIDS activist Hu Jia, reporting their experience later online.

Dozens of petitioners went to Hu Jia’s home in an eastern suburb of Beijing on Sunday, in a bid to bring baby formula to Hu’s wife Zeng Jinyan. Zeng has been held with her baby daughter under house arrest since Hu’s arrest Dec. 27 for “subverting state power.” Their internet and phone connections have been cut off.

Some of the well-wishers were taken to the Dispersion Center for petitioners from out of town, suggesting they travelled from elsewhere in China to help Zeng.

One netizen, identified online as “Little Hammer,” said he had tried to deliver baby formula to Zeng but police blocked his way, questioning him for several hours.

“How precious freedom is! But Hu Jia sacrificed his own freedom for all of us,” “Little Hammer” wrote.

Several other people reported in blog posts and forum messages that they also tried to visit Zeng, or bring milk powder to her, but apparently none succeeded.

Instead, Zeng barred police from entering her apartment Sunday, saying it was illegal to hold her and her baby under house arrest.

According to Hu’s friend, legal scholar Teng Biao, the police replied: “You are not innocent. You were involved in many of the things that Hu Jia did.”

Teng said the police appeared to be threatening Zeng also with detention, talking within earshot about allowing her home from detention to feed her baby……. (more details from Radio Free Asia)

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Blogger, China, Friend, house arrest, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, Women, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off on China: Well-wishers Detained Outside AIDS Activist Hu Jia’s Beijing Home

(video) Modern China Life: AIDS Activist Hu Jia’s Family Traced and Monitord by Polices 24 Hours a Day

Posted by Author on January 25, 2008

From Youtube-

01/18, 2008: Zeng Jinyan remains trapped at home with her 2 month old baby and all communication with the outside world cut off. It is unknown whether they have anything to eat; what is known is that one blogger* sent a parcel of milk formula, but it was intercepted by police.

Prisoners in Freedom City (1)

Prisoners in Freedom City (2)

Prisoners in Freedom City (3)

Prisoners in Freedom City (4)

Prisoners in Freedom City (5)

Prisoners in Freedom City (6)

Prisoners in Freedom City (7)

– From Youtube

Posted in Activist, Asia, Beijing, Blogger, China, City resident, Family, house arrest, housing, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Police, Politics, Social, Video, Women, World, Zeng Jinyan | 1 Comment »

China: One dream, One prison

Posted by Author on January 14, 2008

by Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4, UK, 11 Jan 2008-

She’s the Chinese blogger who’s been dubbed “Tiananmen 2.0” and was selected for the TIME 100 list of heroes and pioneers. Lindsey Hilsum writes on the day she had to shout to Zeng Jinyan through a barred window.

I last saw Zeng Jinyan in December, a month after her baby was born. Jinyan is a sparrow-like woman, who looks even younger than her 24 years. She was in love.

Her mother looked on indulgently as Jinyan told my friend Bessie and me how beautiful the baby was, how perfect, how exceptional – until she giggled in embarrassment at her own enthusiasm.

We saw her again today.

She stood at the window of her fourth floor flat, behind the burglar bars, holding herZeng Jinyan and her baby sleeping daughter and shouting to us below. We couldn’t go in, because Jinyan is now under house arrest.

(photo by Channel 4)

Her slightly nerdy-looking bespectacled husband, Hu Jia, was arrested on December 27th and charged with “incitement to subvert state power,” a charge known as “counter revolution” in the bad old days.

Jinyan said the police cut her telephone line, and took her computer, mobile phone and bank card. Her mother is able to go and buy food, but they’re running out of cash. Friends who try to bring things for the baby are blocked.

For several days, the police camped in her flat – she protested and now they’re outside the door, day and night.

It’s hard to see how this couple, who seem like rather earnest and maybe naïve students, are a threat to the Chinese state. Hu Jia, who’s 33, started by campaigning for people with AIDS. Jinyan was catapulted into the spotlight in 2006, soon after their marriage, when he was first arrested.

She started a blog about her quest to find her husband and suddenly she was more famous then he. In 2006, Time magazine put her in their top 100 influential people in the world.

The Chinese government targets Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan because they join the dots. They use the internet to express their opinion that issues like land rights and AIDS are indivisible – the fundamental problem in China is the abuse of power by the state and Communist Party officials.

The government can tolerate isolated protests, but it knows that if one angry community makes common cause with another, that could become a nation-wide movement. The only national organisation allowed in China is the Party.

The Chinese government is determined to show China in a good light during the Olympics this August. The slogan is “One World, One Dream”, the idea that China is a leader amongst civilised peoples, a full member of the community of nations.

It’s all about giving a good impression – there are campaigns to stop taxi drivers from eating garlic, and pedestrians from spitting in the street.

Earlier this week we watched Olympic hostesses being put through their paces – learning to smile showing only six to eight teeth, stand up straight (with an English grammar book on their heads) and bow while presenting a medal.

The government’s fear is that people like Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan will spoil the party by presenting a bad image of China to the world – their solution is to lock them up.

But that will cause far more trouble. The images which will resonate around the world are not the identikit young women in immaculate uniforms learning to walk gracefully, but one young woman holding a tiny baby, shouting through the bars that they took her husband away and have imprisoned her at home.

Original report from Channel 4

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Blogger, China, Family, house arrest, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off on China: One dream, One prison

China Activist Hu Jia’s Lawyer Put Under House Arrest, Foreign Journalists Prevented From Visiting Wife and Daughter

Posted by Author on January 13, 2008

Reporters Without Borders, 11 January 2008-

Reporters Without Borders today accused the Chinese authorities, especially state security, of violating the new regulations for foreign journalists by preventing them from visiting the wife of detained human rights activist Hu Jia and of violating the right of Hu’s lawyers to visit their client. One of the lawyers was placed under house arrest for a few hours.

“Despite all the appeals from within China and throughout the world for Hu’s release, the government is taking an even tougher position by depriving his wife and their two-month-old daughter of their freedom,” the press freedom organisation said.

On January 10th, one of Hu’s lawyers, Li Jinsong, was placed under house arrest for a few hours in a Beijing hotel, after inviting foreign journalists to confirm that it was impossible for him to see Hu’s wife, Zeng Jinyan. He is under surveillance by the police. His other lawyer, Li Fangping, was not detained but he was strongly urged not to try to approach Zeng’s home.

Previously, the authorities prevented them from visiting Hu in prison on 4 January on the grounds that the case had been classified as a “state secret.”

The police today prevented a group of foreign journalists from entering the Beijing apartment building where Zeng, a well-known blogger, lives with the couple’s two-month-old daughter Qianci, saying it was because a “criminal investigation” was under way. After checking their passports, the police allowed the reporters to leave but made the photographers delete the photos they had taken.

On 8 January, Zeng was able to talk to some German journalists through one of the windows of her apartment. She talked about the conditions in which her husband is being held and how the police are preventing all his friends and relatives from seeing her. “The police have searched the apartment several times and have taken our computer and telephones,” she said, adding: “I am very worried about Hu Jia.”

After that conversation, the police installed a curtain to prevent Zeng from being seen from outside the apartment. More than 20 police officers are permanently stationed around her home. Zeng has been completely isolated since Hu’s arrest, when the phone lines and Internet connection were cut off.

A friend of Hu’s told Reporters Without Borders he had also been prevented from visiting Zeng at home and that police officers were subsequently stationed outside his own home. On 5 January, the police searched the home of Hu’s parents to ensure they did not have documents about his arrest that they could give to the news media.

Hu has been held since 27 December on a charge of “inciting subversion of the state.” Referring to his arrest on 3 January, a foreign ministry spokesman said: “Everyone is equal before the law and no one is above the law. We are handling this case according to the law.”

Li, the lawyer who was placed under house arrest today, was awarded the French government’s human rights prize last month. French justice minister Rachida Dati met him when she accompanied President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit to China in November.

Fifty-seven Chinese activists and writers released an open letter on 6 January calling for Hu’s immediate release and urging the police to ensure that his health does not deteriorate while in detention. Hu has a liver ailment.

Original report from Reporters Without Borders

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Blogger, China, Dissident, Freedom of Speech, house arrest, Hu Jia, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, Lawyer, Life, News, People, Police, Politics, Social, World, Zeng Jinyan | Comments Off on China Activist Hu Jia’s Lawyer Put Under House Arrest, Foreign Journalists Prevented From Visiting Wife and Daughter

China: Catholic Bishop Died In Secret Detention, Cremated by Authority In 6 Hours

Posted by Author on September 11, 2007

Press release, Cardinal Kung Foundation, USA, Sep. 9, 2007-

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Bishop Han Dingxiang (韓鼎詳), the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Yong Nian (永年) in Hebei Province (河北省), died at 11 pm (Beijing time) on September 9 yesterday at the end of his almost 8 years imprisonment by the Chinese authority. With the exception of few of his very close relatives who were suddenly summoned by the government authority to his bedside before his death, none of his priests and other faithful were aware of his grave illness or of any other cause leading to his death; nor were they aware of the fact that he was dying in a hospital.

The bishop was immediately ordered by the government authority to be cremated at approximately 5 am next morning and his ashes were buried immediately in a public cemetery – all within 6 hours after his death.

Consequently, with the exception of a few relatives, the body of Bishop Han was not viewed by the public or by any other faithful. There were no priests or other faithful present during his burial.

He was 71 years old. His last words before he drifted into a coma were to ask his congregation to recite more rosaries.

Bishop Han was born on May 17, 1937, sent to a labor camp by Chinese authority 1960 – 1979, became a high-school teacher from 1979 to 1982, and operated a medical clinic between 1982 – 1986 while he was a seminarian. He was ordained a priest November 21, 1986, and then ordained a bishop December 19, 1989.

During his episcopacy, Bishop Han was arrested by the Chinese authority 11 times. His last arrest was on November 20, 1999 while he was conducting a religious retreat for some of his nuns. After approximately 4 years of detentions in various locations, he was moved to an apartment on the 4th floor of a police family unit where he stayed for another two years.

On September 23, 2005, Bishop Han was secretly moved to an unknown location and disappeared ever since until his death. He spent approximately a total of 35 years of his life either in the labor camp, or in a prison, or in house arrest.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “What was the Chinese government afraid of to cremate Bishop Han only 6 hours after his death and at such an early hour at five o’clock in the morning? Why were the priests of his diocese not allowed to bless his remains and, together with his faithful, to pray for this heroic shepherd, and to view his body? This is not only inhuman, and atrocious, but also suspicious. I urge the Vatican to open an official inquest for the cause of the death of Bishop Han.”

– Original report from Cardinalkungfoundation.Org : The Death of An Underground Bishop in Yong Nian, Hebei, China

Posted in Catholicism, China, Freedom of Belief, Hebei, house arrest, Human Rights, Labor camp, Law, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, World | Comments Off on China: Catholic Bishop Died In Secret Detention, Cremated by Authority In 6 Hours

Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Solemnly Denies All Charges by China Authorities

Posted by Author on September 9, 2007

By Gao Zhisheng, The Epochtimes, Sep 08, 2007-Gao zhisheng 6-a



Gao Zhisheng

At around 12:00 p.m. on August 15, 2006, 30 thugs from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) broke in and kidnapped me in a violent manner from my older sister’s home in Shandong Province. Meanwhile, about 40 unidentified men broke into my home in Beijing and ransacked my place for a few hours. They stole all of my belongings and left only 300 yuan in cash. During the process, they didn’t present any legal documents or identify themselves. They were silent throughout the process. They also searched my wife and my two underage children, and started to put them under house arrest for an indefinite amount of time.

To achieve their illegal purpose, 11 goons stayed at my home around the clock for 11 consecutive days without our permission. They kept the TV on 24-hours a day, used my kitchen and bathroom at will. They worked in rotation, but there were always seven to eleven people guarding us from my living room at any given time. They played cards, watched TV, ate snacks and chatted aloud. They have violated the most basic human rights.

Even my two-year-old boy Gao Tianyu’s bedroom was guarded by two people. My wife and children were not allowed to turn off the light when they went to bed or keep the bedroom door closed. My family was not even allowed to keep the door closed when they used the bathroom. My wife’s and children’s each and every move, including sleep, was closely watched by these goons. Eleven days later, the goons moved their camp downstairs, but they continued to watch my wife and two children.

During the next four months my wife was watched by at least four big men when she had to go out. When my daughter went to middle school and when my son went to kindergarten, they were watched by four to six goons. They watched my children from outside the classrooms. During these four months, they beat up my wife once in public, and pushed and insulted her countless times. My daughter was repeatedly beaten up and insulted. Even my three nephews that worked part-time in Beijing were illegally detained for 21 days.

On August 15, 2006, Shanxin Province’s Public Security Bureau (PSB) hired about 40 local thugs to break into my parents’ home in Shaanxi Province. They had my parents’ home under siege and bullied my family for four months.

On the same day, a few dozen unidentified men started to watch and follow my parents-in-law and my wife’s sister in Ürümchi, Xinjiang Autonomous Region. The local police ordered my parents-in-law not to leave home and took their IDs by force.

My mother-in-law, in her 60’s, took the risk to flee from home in the middle of the night to Beijing. But the cold-blooded goons watching my home in Beijing forbade this elderly woman who spent two days and two nights on the road from entering my home. She had no choice but to stay outdoors overnight. On the next day, she waited for my wife on the only path to the supermarket and finally met her. The mother and daughter hugged each other and burst into tears. But the goons followed them home and interrogated my mother-in-law. While my mother-in-law was in Beijing, she was closely followed by four to six goons.

In Shandong Province, my older sister’s child was taken into custody 24-hours before the court order date and was kept in police custody until my brother-in-law passed away. The police in Shandong Province even forbade my nephew from attending his father’s funeral. This is an outrageous act against the Chinese customs. The police argued that they were executing the order from the PSB.

After I was kidnapped, I began a hunger strike to protest the illegal detention. After 36 hours of hunger strike, I learned that my wife and children were cut off from food and water so I had to stop the hunger strike. During the illegal detention, the CCP subjected me to brutal tortures and psychological abuses.

When they failed to make me give in, they threatened to deprive my wife and children’s basic means of survival. “We don’t ask much. We ask only two things from you. First, plead guilty. Second, stop fighting for human rights. You are a very special case 815 [my code name during the illegal custody]. We have to break all the rules and conventions to make you give in. We will not hesitate to use any means on you as long as it works.”

“815, we have designed many means against you. We can bring your older brother here and make him kneel before you until you plead guilty. We will use every means necessary no matter how long it takes.”

Because of these inhuman tortures and coercions, I was forced to “plead guilty” and “guaranteed” in writing not to fight for human rights. After many drafts of the forced “guilty plead” and “guarantee”, the police decided to write them for me and have me transcribe it. This became the “statement of repentance” that the public saw later.

I hereby make a solemn declaration.

First, I completely deny the false charges that the CCP authorities placed on me through their inhuman tortures and abuses.

Second, I completely deny the entire content of the “statement of repentance.” Both the CCP authorities and I knew it was a complete falsehood from the beginning, but I insist on declaring it to be void.

Third, it was my true will to publish the statement on December 13, 2005 to withdraw from the CCP [and its two affiliated organizations.] I hereby acknowledge and confirm the statement again.

Fourth, I hereby confirm the three open letters I have written before August 15, 2006.

Fifth, I shall persevere in fighting against the totalitarian and inhuman rule that suppresses people’s freedom of thinking.

Gao Zhisheng

Posted in Beijing, China, Family, Gao Zhisheng, house arrest, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, Life, News, Opinion, Party withdrawal, People, Politics, Report, Social, Speech, Story, Torture, World | Comments Off on Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Solemnly Denies All Charges by China Authorities

Reporting Hurdle For Foreign Press in China

Posted by Author on August 9, 2007

Rowan Callick, China correspondent, The Australian, Austalia, August 09, 2007-

IN the run-up to the Olympic Games, the Chinese Government has broadened the freedom allowed foreign media to report in China but has extended controls over the domestic media. And the 30,000 “net police” continue to monitor, filter and at times prevent internet and email access in a continuing cat-and-mouse game with the country’s many independent voices and maverick bloggers.

Besides the 20,000 accredited journalists covering the Games, the Chinese authorities are expecting 10,000 non-accredited reporters: twice the number of athletes competing.

And this may prove an underestimate, with many arriving long before August to provide material for extensive preview series to be broadcast and published well before the sporting events begin.

The result by the time of the Olympics is likely to be a mass of voices and views on China, many critical and seeking to carve a distinctive approach because of the very immensity of the competition.

This presents a big challenge for a country whose entire media is in theory state owned, although the connections and controls have become rather remote in places where “the mountains are very high and the emperor is far away”.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China, which represents most of the 400 officially accredited international journalists in the country, has recently published a survey on the reporting environment.

Forty-three percent of respondents said it had improved since new regulations covering the foreign media came into force on January 1, but 40 per cent said they continued to experience interference in their reporting, citing 157 cases.

These included intimidation of sources, detentions, surveillance, official reprimands and violence against correspondents, their staff and sources.

FCCC president Melinda Liu, of Newsweek, said: “We welcome the progress that has been made”, especially in removing the former requirement that correspondents seek the approval of local government officials before working anywhere in the country. That rule is scheduled to be reintroduced along with other controls after the Olympics.

Liu urged the Chinese Government to accelerate efforts to eliminate all media restrictions and to ensure appropriate implementation of policies.

She said: “We’re especially concerned by many reports of intimidation of sources. A nation where citizens who speak to foreign correspondents face threats, reprisals and even bodily harm does not live up to the world’s expectations of an Olympic host.”

John Coates, president of the Australian Olympic committee, said on Tuesday, during a visit to Beijing, that the International Olympic Committee, of which he is a member, can only work with the host organisation and is not in a position to address such issues. It was up to governments to lobby on media freedom matters, he said.

Professional diplomat Sun Weide, deputy director of communications for the Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, was at first reluctant to admit the BBC website was among many blocked in China.

But he then conceded that if internet users encountered problems in accessing the BBC, it was possibly because the organisation offered succour to Falun Gong, the Buddhist-derived religious movement that had become the Chinese Government’s No.1 enemy.

Liu Qi, BOCOG president, says in a 171-page service guide for foreign media covering the Olympics: “As the Beijing Olympic Games approach, the government in China, at all levels, and BOCOG will follow Olympic practice and honour our commitments to provide high-quality services to media organisations and journalists all over theworld.”

The BOCOG media office has established a one-stop shop for journalists to apply for visas, Customs clearance, permission to film relics, interviews with Chinese athletes, access to Olympic venues and satellite TV arrangements “based on the principle of being kind and friendly to the media”.

One of the problems facing the Chinese Government is that journalists covering the country – including many of those starting to arrive to prepare Olympic preview coverage – are not very interested in administrative arrangements.

The Chinese Government monitors international coverage, but its prime concern is overwhelmingly with what is available in written or spoken Chinese.

And in terms of the freedom of the domestic media, this has changed little in recent years. Some topics have been carefully opened up for greater scrutiny at certain times: recently, for instance, the environment. But other areas are policed even more strictly. Very little is known, for example, about the lives of China’s unelected leaders: even less than about their predecessors. Such doors remain closed. And China continues to hold more journalists in its jails than does any other country.

The Olympic Games naturally become a hook on which issues of pressing international concern are hung and China, because of its size and its authoritarian governance, is already attracting more interest in this respect than other recent Games.

Original report from The Australian

Posted in Asia, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, censorship, China, Falun Gong, Freedom of Speech, house arrest, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Media, News, People, Politics, Religion, Social, Sports, website, World | Comments Off on Reporting Hurdle For Foreign Press in China

Amnesty: Human Rights Violations in China Go Against Principles of the Olympic Charter

Posted by Author on August 8, 2007

Amnesty International, Aug. 07, 2007-

As the one year countdown to the Beijing Olympics begins, time is running out for the Chinese government to fulfil its promise of improving human rights in the run-up to the Games.

Amnesty International’s latest report finds that several Beijing-based activists continue to face ‘house arrest’ and tight police surveillance, while those in other parts of China are facing increased abuse.

Award-winning housing rights activist Chen Xiaoming died in Shanghai on 1 July, shortly after his release from prison, where reports indicate he was tortured in detention.

There is also an ongoing crackdown on the media; with continued imprisonment of journalists and writers, forced dismissal of media staff, publication closures and pervasive internet censorship.

“Unless the Chinese authorities take urgent measures to stop human rights violations over the coming year, they risk tarnishing the image of China and the legacy of the Beijing Olympics,” says AI Secretary General, Irene Khan.

“Not only are we not seeing delivery on the promises made that the Olympics would help improve the human rights situation in China, but the police are using the pretext of the Olympics to extend the use of detention without trial. This is despite the fact that substantial reform or abolition of such methods has been on China’s reform agenda for many years.”

This increased use of detentions is part of plans to “clean up” Beijing ahead of the Games. The plans include “Re-education through Labour” for petty crimes and extensions of periods of “Enforced Drug Rehabilitation”. Despite some positive reforms likely to reduce thee use of the death penalty, China remains the world’s top executioner with an estimated 8,000 people killed in 2006.

Irene Khan says: “The application of the death penalty in China remains shrouded in secrecy. Full transparency is essential to help prevent miscarriages of justice and provide the Chinese public with sufficient information to reach informed conclusions on the death penalty. Nothing short of publishing full national statistics on the application of the death penalty will suffice.”

These ongoing human rights violations go against the core principles of the Olympic Charter, such as “the preservation of human dignity” and “respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” AI has sent a copy of its latest update to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The IOC must promote a positive legacy of the Olympics built on respect for human rights,” says Irene Khan. “The Chinese authorities must press ahead with their promises to improve human rights so that when August 2008 arrives the Chinese people can be proud in every respect of what their country has to offer the world.”

Read More
People’s Republic of China: The Olympics countdown – one year left to fulfil human rights promises (Report, 7 August 2007)

Posted in Activist, Beijing, censorship, China, Dissident, house arrest, Human Rights, Journalist, Law, News, People, Politics, Report, Social, World | Comments Off on Amnesty: Human Rights Violations in China Go Against Principles of the Olympic Charter

China Hero Doctor Who Exposed SARS Cover-Up Barred U.S. Trip For Rights Award

Posted by Author on July 13, 2007

By JOSEPH KAHN, New York Times, July 13, 2007-

BEIJING, July 12 — A Chinese doctor who exposed the cover-up of China’s SARS outbreak in 2003 has been barred from traveling to the United States to collect a human rights award, a friend of the doctor and a human rights group said this week.

The doctor, Jiang Yanyong, a retired surgeon in the People’s Liberation Army, was awarded the Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award by the New York Academy of Sciences. His army-affiliated work unit, Beijing’s Hospital 301, denied him permission to travel to the award ceremony in September, Hu Jia, a Chinese rights promoter who is a friend of Dr. Jiang’s, said Thursday.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, which is based in Hong Kong, also issued a statement reporting the rejection of the travel request. The doctor could not be reached at his home for comment, and a person who answered the phone in the director’s office of Hospital 301 said the situation was unclear, declining to provide further details.

Dr. Jiang rose to international prominence in 2003, when he disclosed in a letter circulated to international news organizations that at least 100 people were being treated in Beijing hospitals for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. At the time, the Chinese medical authorities were asserting that the entire nation had only a handful of cases of the disease.

The revelation prompted China’s top leaders to acknowledge that they had provided false information about the epidemic. The health minister and the mayor of Beijing were removed from their posts.

SARS eventually killed more than 800 people worldwide, and the government came under international scrutiny for failing to provide timely information that medical experts said might have saved lives.

Dr. Jiang was initially hailed as a hero in Chinese and foreign news media. He used his new prestige in 2004 to press China’s ruling Politburo Standing Committee to admit that the leadership had made a mistake in ordering the military to shoot unarmed civilians on June 3 and 4, 1989, when troops were deployed to suppress democracy protests that began in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Dr. Jiang, who treated Beijing residents wounded in the 1989 assault, contended that the official line that the crackdown was necessary to put down a rebellion was false. His statement antagonized party leaders, who consider the crackdown a matter of enormous political sensitivity.

Jiang Zemin, then the leader of the military, ordered the detention of Dr. Jiang, who spent several months in custody, people involved in his defense say. Dr. Jiang was eventually allowed to return to his home but remained under constant watch. He has not been allowed to accept press requests for interviews or to visit family members who live in the United States, friends and human rights groups say.

Mr. Hu said that Dr. Jiang’s superiors at Hospital 301 had told him that he could not travel to New York to collect his award because the ruling Communist Party was seeking to maintain an atmosphere of social and political stability in the period leading up to the 17th Party Congress in the fall, when party leaders decide on a new leadership lineup.

“There is always some big political event they can use as an excuse to put pressure on human rights defenders,” Mr. Hu said. “The real reason is that they want to keep him under house arrest so he has no opportunity to speak the truth to the outside world.”

– Original report from New York Times: China Bars U.S. Trip for Doctor Who Exposed SARS Cover-Up

Posted in Asia, Beijing, censorship, China, Doctor, Health, house arrest, Human Rights, Jiang Yanyong, Jiang Zemin, June 4, Law, News, Official, People, Politics, SARS, Social, Special day, Speech, Tiananmen, travel, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China Rights Activist Win Award From World Preeminent Lawyer Organization

Posted by Author on July 1, 2007

Press release, The American Board of Trial Advocates(ABOTA), June 30, 2007-Gao Zhisheng

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (June 30, 2007) — The American Board of Trial Advocates, a national organization of preeminent trial lawyers, will present its third Courageous Advocacy Award tonight to Chinese human rights activist Gao Zhisheng.

The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is a national association of more than 6,300 experienced judges and trial lawyers. ABOTA bestows the award periodically to a judge or advocate anywhere in the world who has demonstrated courage in the performance of duty and a strict adherence to the rule of law, even at great risk to personal freedom and safety.

The recipient will not be present to accept the award. Gao Zhisheng and members of his family are under house arrest in Beijing, China. This champion of human rights has not been allowed to practice law since 2005, and dozens of plainclothes state police officers follow him and members of his family wherever they go.

Gao is one of a small number of lawyers willing to handle high-profile human rights cases involving rural land rights, labor activists and religious freedom. He has championed the cause of thousands of Chinese citizens forcibly relocated for the construction of a massive dam and reservoir, as well as the families of miners killed in a 2004 coal mine explosion.

In the last few years, cases of Falun Gong practitioners – who are persecuted for attempting to bring uncensored information to China through the Internet – started to mount on his desk. But lawyers are not allowed to defend Falun Gong cases in China. After repeated legal efforts went nowhere, Gao directly appealed to his country’s top leaders – Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao – in open letters.

These courageous attempts to gain redress from Chinese government officials and the courts led to the loss of his practice and current house arrest. As the Editor-in-Chief of Chinascope magazine, Zongi Hu, stated in the February 2006 issue, “…this ordinary citizen is reaching far more people than the Chinese communist government ever expected, or even more than the regime can reach itself.”

Gao remains unafraid of consequences: “I am a warrior who does not care whether he lives or dies. Such sacrifice will be nothing to me if it speeds the death of this dictatorship.”

A statement released by the Global Association for Supporting Gao Zhisheng, an alliance of more than 119 organizations, captured the essence of his contribution: “Attorney Gao has given his all in the Chinese non-violent [rights protection] movement. He is the symbol for human rights in China, and he represents the Chinese conscience.”

Accepting the Courageous Advocacy Award for Gao Zhisheng will be Sherry Zhang, of the Sound of Hope Radio Network. The Sound of Hope Radio Network is a news and entertainment broadcast service offering a unique perspective on Asian culture and its people.

“We are all hopeful that Gao’s courage in standing up to the communist regime will bring about positive change for the Chinese people in the area of human rights,” said Lewis R. Sifford of Dallas, National ABOTA President. “We hope that the constitutional rights we enjoy here in America, such as freedom of speech and religion, will spread throughout China and provide a better quality of life for all people in that nation.

“A lawyer like Gao and other brave human rights attorneys can certainly give the Chinese people the incentive to push for equality and freedom in many aspects of their lives. Without lawyers like Gao, these needed changes are unlikely to occur,” Sifford continued.

Gao Zhisheng also has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace for his fearless support of human rights in China. The nomination was jointly made by two highly respected Canadian lawyers, David Matas and David Kilgour.

David Matas is Senior Legal Counsel to B’nai Brith Canada. Matas has been actively involved in human rights issues and has received many awards and honors from Jewish organizations, the legal community and a wide variety of other groups. He is an accomplished author, having published several books and manuscripts. His most recent, Bloody Words: Hate and Free Speech, was published in 2000.

David Kilgour is one of the three longest-serving MPs in the Canadian House of Commons.

He has represented Canada abroad on numerous occasions, most recently as a member of the Canadian delegation to Rwanda in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the genocide in that nation.

ABOTA has presented the Courageous Advocacy Award on two other occasions. It was presented in 1999 at the ABOTA International Meeting in Florence, Italy, as a collective award to 24 lawyers and judges who gave their lives in the pursuit of justice under the law.

A second Courageous Advocacy Award was given at the ABOTA International Meeting in 2003 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in memory of 13 judges, barristers and solicitors who were maimed or murdered while showing extraordinary courage and unwavering commitment to the rule of law during the political and social unrest in that country.

Founded in 1958, ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges. ABOTA and its members are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Foundation of ABOTA is an affiliated charitable entity, the mission of which is to support the purposes of ABOTA through education and research. ABOTA membership consists of more than 6,300 lawyers and judges spread among 93 Chapters in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. ABOTA publishes Voir Dire magazine, which features in-depth articles on current and historical issues related to constitutional rights, in particular the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury.

For more information contact: Brian Tyson at (800) 932-2682

original report from ABOTA

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Hard Facts on ‘Soft Arrests’ in China

Posted by Author on May 28, 2007

By Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch, May 25, 2007-

When 10 policemen barged into the Beijing apartment of Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan last Friday morning and told them that they were under house arrest and prohibited from leaving the country, it was more than just the latest incident in a long-standing crackdown against human-rights activists. It was also an indication of how China intends to handle dissent between now and the Olympic games that will open in Beijing in August 2008.

Mr. Hu and Ms. Zeng, who are expecting their first child in September, are the most prominent figures of a new generation of rights activists in the mainland. They take the Chinese government’s promises at face value, insisting that provisions protecting rights in China’s constitution and laws be upheld. And they are savvy about how to put pressure on the government, aware that the Olympics provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put China’s abysmal rights record under the international spotlight.

Mr. Hu started in Beijing as an HIV/AIDS activist a decade ago, and quickly came to realize that without freedoms of speech and press, China’s nascent civil society would never be a serious actor in addressing China’s many social challenges, such as its acute environmental crisis, the lack of a social safety net for the poor, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Mr. Hu soon became one of the primary advocates for other activists facing jail or threats, relaying information to Chinese citizens and the outside world. For this, he spent more than 200 days under house arrest last year; this followed detention for over a month the previous year — a period in which the police never informed Ms. Zeng about her husband’s whereabouts.

Ms. Zeng has also become a noted human-rights activist since her husband’s arrest. She started blogging about Mr. Hu’s disappearance and later about their 200 days under house arrest, and quickly attracted a large following. Together, they made a 31-minute documentary about their ordeal, “Prisoner of Freedom City,” which shows on camera for the first time the harassment that dissidents and critics are subjected to by state security personnel. Her blog has now been blocked in China, but is still available abroad. Recently, she was named by Time magazine as one of the World’s “100 most influential people.”

When they were placed under house arrest last Friday, Mr. Hu and Ms. Zeng were minutes from leaving for a two-month trip to Europe, where they intended to speak about the human-rights situation in the run-up to the Olympics and to screen their documentary in various national capitals. Instead, the police took Mr. Hu to the police station for four hours of interrogation, telling him that he and his wife were suspected of “harming state security” — the kind of ill-defined charges often leveled against dissenters.

Preventing government critics from traveling abroad is becoming a regular feature of China’s repressive tactics. In February, 20 mainland writers were prohibited from traveling to Hong Kong for a major conference organized by PEN, an international writers association. In March, the authorities tried to prevent 80-year old HIV/AIDS activist Dr. Gao Yaojie from going to the U.S. to receive a human rights award (they did an about face when this provoked an international outcry). In April, five rights activists from Beijing, Chongqing and Wuhan were prevented from traveling to a legal conference in Hong Kong. In these instances, as in Mr. Hu and Ms. Zeng’s case, the police provided no legal basis whatsoever for their order.

Indeed, there is no basis under Chinese law for ruanjin. Literally meaning “soft arrest,” ruanjin is imposed at the complete discretion of the police, outside of any legal procedure. Ruanjin subjects one’s daily life to the whims of the secret police. In practice it means 24-hour surveillance by unidentified and often aggressive police officers, confinement at home, and restricted and monitored telephone and Internet communications. When a foreign diplomat tried to visit Mr. Hu last year, the police sealed off the entire housing block and turned the visitor away.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hu and Ms. Zeng’s case isn’t unique. Chinese rights activists are routinely put under house arrest. It is a life in limbo: One never knows when it will come and when it will end. It can last a long time, as it has for Liu Xiaobo, the famous Beijing writer and dissident who has endured ruanjin on and off for over a decade.

Despite the large number of security officials ruanjin entails, with often dozens of law-enforcement personnel mobilized on a single person or family for months, for the Chinese authorities “soft arrest” presents several advantages over formal arrest and jailing. Putting a dissident in prison attracts greater attention and condemnation from the international community. Formal charging and jailing of activists for expressing their opinions also gives the lie to China’s promise to make improvements in the human rights situation before the Olympics. House arrest, on the other hand, attracts less notice, while still intimidating countless others.

The Olympics may be a year away, but the government’s efforts to silence critics are already in full swing. There is little reason to think the wave of arrests will slow — if anything, they’ll accelerate as opening day approaches. The international community isn’t powerless; countries participating in the Olympics, and the Olympic committee itself, can lodge protests and lobby to prevent future arrests. At the very least, no one can sit quietly when critics and human-rights defenders are silenced in this way.

Mr. Adams is Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

original from Human Rights Watch

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